Sshh! Don't tell everyone, but Papago Park is an incredible park within the city. Surrounded by the sandstone buttes, palm trees, saguaros, and three lakes you will forget you are in the city. There are many hiking paths and one of the most family friendly hikes with incredible views is the "Hole in the Rock". A short hike and you are rewarded with an incredible view of the desert. The path is dirt and can easily be hiked by just about anyone. It will start off as a a gravel path and then will change to stairs. The view of the city is well worth the short hike.
Since the Zoo and Botanical Gardens are nearby this would be a great spot to visit while visiting the other two attractions.
The park has many activities for all ages, but especially for children. Its main feature must be the zoo, but we liked the Desert Botanical garden very much, as a must see. It is about 50 wonderful acres of 500+ varieties of cactus and desert plants. I hoped to hike some of the hills, but did not have time to do so. They looked relatively easy and good views of the central area around there.
The park has a lot of shelters/ramadas to picnic and enjoy the day under shade. Three small lakes are also in the park for recreation enjoyment.
East of downtown Phoeinix this city park hosts the Phoenix zoo and the botanical gardens. It also has many hiking and biking trails.
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